[rescue] Cluesticks (was Mounting and Dumping)

Sheldon T. Hall shel at cmhcsys.com
Wed Jan 14 22:07:23 CST 2004

Quoth Janet L. Campbell ...
> On Wed, 14 Jan 2004, Sheldon T. Hall wrote:

> > I wish I'd had the wit to save a deck of CRAM cards and a
> > couple of miles of
> > paper tape from my first job in "DP."  My merely explaining
> > real core memory
> > or a CRAM unit doesn't have the same impact as the PFY's seeing
> > one in the flesh ...
> When I worked as an operator, I handled a lot of 9-track (and the
> occasional 7-track) tape.  I kept a write ring on my desk for years at
> later jobs, and it was always interesting watching to see who recognized
> it when they saw it.  It made a decent clue-yardstick.

I'll bet.

> When I gave away my 11/750 in 1995, my TU78 and TU77 went with it.  They
> really were amazing works of engineering.  The HP 88780 I got later just
> didn't compare, though at least it would fit on a desk.

A lot of early stuff, in all mechanical fields, contains amazing
engineering.  As time goes on, though, they figure out how to "simplicate
and add lightness", reduce the parts count, and reduce the cost of

A modern hard disk drive is a real case in point.  The early ones had all
sorts of convoluted cast cases, precision motor drives, and complex head
positioning mechanisms.  I took apart a dead Seagate ST15150N the other day;
I wanted to salvage the magnets.  I think they have it down to the
irreduceable minimum of mechanical parts, but the ones that are there are
very, very finely machined.

The motor is in the spindle for the platters, and makes flush contact with
some "fingers" in the case, so the whole platter assembly is just one unit.
The rest follows the same simple principles.  Everything is as simple as can
be, and finished like a jewel.

And they are insanely cheap.  You know what disk storage used to cost?  Why,
when I were nobbut a lad....

> Somewhere in a storage shed I've got an original source
> distribution of V7
> on reel.  Maybe it's a collector's item by now.

I expect it's been a collector's item for some years, actually.  As is the
tape drive you'd need to read it.


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